Bette Midler urged moms to simply “TRY BREASTFEEDING” amid the crippling breast formula shortage — and was widely slammed for the “obtuse” and ignorant comment Friday.
The 76-year-old “Beaches” star was responding to a tweet from MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle Thursday night that declared the “baby formula shortage reveals an amazing secret oligopoly” of three companies owning “90%” of the market.
The Divine Ms. M shot back, “TRY BREASTFEEEDING! It’s free and available on demand,” prompting a firestorm of criticism from parents.
“Bette, respectfully, this is a very bad take,” wrote Ilyse Hogue, the former head of the pro-choice group National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws.
“I had twins. I didn’t produce enough milk for both. Without formula, I would have had to have chosen which one got to eat. To say nothing of kids that get separated from their birth mothers very young.”
Radio host Annie Frey added, “Please don’t be this insensitively obtuse about an incredibly frightening thing for parents.”
New moms often don’t produce enough milk to feed their babies and must supplement it with formula. Others have infants experiencing trouble latching, are raising an adopted baby or must use formula to balance work with the frequency of breastfeeding their baby.
“There are a 1,000 reasons why this isn’t possible for all moms and babies,” activist Amber Gustafson blasted on Twitter.
Tim Carvell, a producer for “Last Week Tonight,” called it mind-boggling that Midler, who has carved out a niche in for her acerbic humor in queer circles, seemed oblivious to alternative family lifestyles.
“Imagine having a large gay fanbase, many of whom are raising kids in two-dad households, and thinking this is a good suggestion,” he tweeted.
Midler gave birth to her daughter, Sophie Von Haselberg, in 1986 at age 41.